No. 10 Arizona can not be consumed with its number in the loss column compared to the Pac-12’s first-place team, Stanford, when the Wildcats play at last-place California today in a rare Friday afternoon game.
The game at 1:30 p.m. will be televised live on Pac-12 Networks and will be broadcast live on KTUC (1400-AM) with Arizona grad Derrick Palmer calling the action.
The Wildcats (14-2, 12-2 Pac-12) can’t be concerned about how their winning percentage in the conference stacks up against No. 6 Stanford (19-2, 16-2) with the Cardinal playing four more games after COVID-19 caused postponements with Arizona’s schedule.
Cal (0-13, 0-10) is down but the Golden Bears know how to upset Arizona. On the Wildcats’ Senior Day last year, Cal beat Adia Barnes’ team after her team experienced one of the best wins in program history over No. 4 Stanford. Cal entered that game with a 2-15 record in the Pac-12.
“It scares me because of what happened last year,” Barnes said. “They only had I think one win when they played us, maybe two and look what happened.”
Pac-12 Women's Basketball Standings
Arizona must win to keep pace with Stanford, of which it plays Monday night at Maples Pavilion on ESPN2.
The Cardinal hosts ASU (10-7, 5-7) on Friday.
Injuries to key players and seven games postponed because of COVID-19 have derailed the Golden Bears, who are in their second season with Charmin Smith as head coach. Former Arizona assistant April Phillips is on Smith’s staff. She was an assistant to Barnes when the Wildcats won the WNIT title in 2018-19.
Dalayah Daniels, a freshman from Seattle, is one constant positive influence for Cal. She is the only player to start all 13 games. She averages 11.5 points and 6.6 rebounds a game.
— Freshman post player Lauren Ware has earned the gold jersey twice this season for the top practice player in a week, including this week.
— Arizona limited Cal to only 33 points in a 69-33 win at McKale Center on Jan. 3. That is the fewest points Arizona has allowed a Pac-12 opponent this season.
— The Wildcats will also try to build on their No. 8 ranking by the NCAA tournament selection committee in the first top 16 reveal on Monday. The ranking puts Arizona as a No. 2 seed in the same region with powers Connecticut, Baylor and Tennessee.
— Arizona is coming off a 75 percent shooting performance (12 of 16) from 3-point range, a program record, in a 75-53 win over Washington last Sunday on Senior Day.
— Arizona is off to its best start in the Pac-12 in program history with the 12-2 record.
— Arizona is the only school in the Pac-12 with three 1,000-point scorers on the roster including All-American guard Aari McDonald (2,050 points including her freshman season at Washington), Sam Thomas (1,065 points) and Cate Reese (1,062).
Arizona Career Scoring Leaders
— Reese was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 18 points and shooting 53 percent from the field in wins over Oregon, Washington State and Washington.
— McDonald has scored in double figures in 82 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation. The total encompasses her entire Arizona career. She is the NCAA’s career scoring leader among active players and is fourth in Arizona history with 1,777 points. She also leads the Pac-12 in steals with 2.4 a game.
Arizona Career Starts Leaders
— Thomas made a career-high six threes against Washington, one short of the Arizona record. She is the career leader in blocks among all active Pac-12 players with 156. No other player has 100 blocks. She is also the only player in the Pac-12 to average at least two steals and one block per game.
Arizona Career 3-point Field Goals Made Leaders
— The Wildcats have been ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for 30 straight weeks, the longest stretch in school history. Arizona has been ranked in the top 10 in 12 of the 13 polls this season.
Arizona Career Blocked Shot Leaders
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.